WWE accused of 'exploiting' MH17 air crash at Battleground
"You blame Russia for the recent events?!"
The WWE has drawn criticism after it appeared to reference the Mayalsia Airlines MH17 tragedy to get heat for pro-Russian character Rusev during his match with American patriot Jack Swagger at Battleground.
Rusev, characterised as a Vladimir Putin-worshipping "brute" who wants to "crush" the USA, was accompanied to the ring by his manager Lana, who during a speech designed to enrage the crowd, asked incredulously: "You blame Russia for the recent events?!"
Read more: WWE Battleground 2014 results
It was tasteless, but no surprise for a wrestling fan that the WWE referenced the MH17 crash
Lana (real name Catherine Joy Perry from Gainesville, Florida), didn't specifically mention MH17, but given the debate currently raging about Russia's culpability in the crash, the audience clearly took it as a direct reference.
The comments were immediately met with a backlash on Twitter, being labelled a "cheap shot".
Rusev went on to win the match.
Fans had been speculating on how the latest development in world news would be reflected in the Russia vs USA feud, which has been raging for weeks in the run up to the pay-per-view, with one user concluding following the match: "Wondered how WWE would handle the MH17/Rusev thing. Didn't expect this," as another added: "I was worried they would [still reference it], but I'm still shocked."
The fallout could force the WWE to scrap the Rusev storyline, as was the case with former superstar Muhammad Hassan, a character with Arabic roots bemoaning Muslim stereotypes who was axed following a controversial terrorism storyline.
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England take third place as they beat Germay in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Why is it that there’s no women’s team at Manchester United? - Michael Calvin
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...